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Vergeire to doctors to the barrios: Remember our oath, gov’t would protect you in COVID-19 fight

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday reminded the doctors to the barrios (DTTB) of their sworn oath to serve the people even amid the pandemic.

During a virtual forum, Vergeire was asked regarding the concern of rural health physicians on being deployed to areas with high number of COVID-19 cases that are also in need of additional workforce.

"Ito opinyon ko. Pumasok tayo sa gobyerno, pumasok dito sa trabahong ito. Nag-aral tayo ng pagka-doktor. Sumumpa tayo na 'pag may mangangailangan sa ating may sakit, tutulong tayo," she said.

"Sa tingin ko kailangan isaisip at isapuso ng batwa health care worker 'yang mga sinumpaan naming tungkulin. Tumatawag ang bayan, tumatawag ang country para tumulong tayo," she added.

Fresh recruits

On Thursday, the Department of Health said it is looking for 10,000 fresh recruits to the frontlines to let other exhausted health workers take a break.

Metro Manila and nearby provinces have been placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine from August 4 to 18 after the medical community pleaded for a "time out" due to an unabated admission of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

In June, the DTTB slammed the DOH's order of temporarily transferring rural health physicians in Regions VI and VII to private hospitals in Cebu City which are in need of additional workforce.

They called it an "abrupt exploitative order," stressing that rural doctors had not been consulted about the move.

The DTTB also expressed concern for the far-flung communities that they will leave behind.

In turn, the DOH made the deployment to Cebu City voluntary.

"Tumitingin kami ng ibang healthcare wakas na puwedeng pumalit kung sakaling made-deploy po sila," Vergeire said.

"Yun pong sinasabi baka mahawa sila, lahat naman ng tao puwedeng mahawa eh. Hindi ho namin sila pababayaan. Hindi ho namin sila isasabak sa isang giyera na hindi namin sila bibigyan ng proteksyon," she added.

Vergeire said there is an ongoing dialogue between the DOH and the DTTB and that hopefully, their concerns will be addressed soon.

At the Palace briefing, Vergeire reiterated that this deployment is voluntary and that the doctors who will be transferred would also undergo quarantine, if necessary, before they render their services in health care facilities. — RSJ, GMA News